Eight out of 10 spinal cord injured people are concerned about how they will survive next winter due to the cost-of-living crisis according to a new survey released today by the Spinal Injuries Association.
The ‘What Matters’ survey, which looked at almost 1000 responses from spinal cord injured people, found most respondents had stretched themselves to the limit during last winter by diving into savings or running up huge debt.
With benefits falling short, some have been forced to turn to food banks and warm spaces with one so desperate that they admitted to resorting to stealing food from shops.
Despite the news that energy costs are coming down in the short term, the future is uncertain with overall energy costs still much higher. Many have real concerns that they have no real way of increasing their income to absorb any additional costs that next winter will inevitably bring.
Spinal cord injury brings mobility issues and in many cases paralysis below the point of injury but there are many hidden effects such as an inability to regulate body temperature. For a spinal cord injured person simply switching off the heating is not a safe, and some must use additional equipment such as hoists or stairlifts which take on even more electricity.
Many reported that the cold adversely affects their pain levels and their ability to walk with some struggling to move around their own home. Some resorted to wearing ski clothes indoors or wrapping themselves in blankets and duvets and staying in bed all day, rather than turning on the heating.
“We’re shocked and saddened by what we’ve learnt,” said Nik Hartley OBE, CEO of Spinal Injuries Association (pictured above).
“It remains clear from our responses that spinal cord injured people are being failed. Failed by a health and social care system in crisis and failed by a lack of coordination and financial support when they really need it.”
Spinal Injuries Association is the expert guiding voice for people affected by spinal cord injury and the hundreds of thousands of people who are their families, friends and carers. To find out more go to www.spinal.co.uk